The Acronis Global Disaster Recovery index results illustrate business concerns about hybrid environments.
Backup, recovery and
security solutions specialist Acronis released data from its Global Disaster
Recovery Index, which found that 73 percent of small and midsize businesses worldwide
agreed that virtualization has either completely or partially changed the way
the business manages its backup and disaster recovery.
Acronis issued a warning
about the potential concerns associated with the rapid adoption of
virtualization, as the complexities of managing migration, backup and recovery
between physical, virtual and cloud environments set in.
The report concluded that while
the introduction of virtualization was fuelled by server consolidation and cost
efficiencies, this so-called next phase, or second generation, of
virtualization adoption poses challenges to traditional backup and recovery
processes as users struggle to implement known backup and disaster-recovery
practices in a new hybrid environment.
"The introduction of server
and workstation virtualization was not about backup, it was largely driven by
cost and consolidation. As we progress into widespread virtualization
adoption, IT managers are learning that traditional physical server backup
solutions are inadequate for virtual-machine backup, and maintaining separate
backup strategies for physical and virtual confuses the backup scenario even
more," said Seth Goodling, virtualization practice manager at Acronis.
The index showed agent-based
software has been adapted to provide some of the functionality required for
backup and recovery in a virtualized environment. However, experts warn
that these workarounds have proven to be hard to implement, ineffective and
added costs to the virtualization programs. These issues, combined with the
complexity of managing data across physical, virtual and cloud environments,
are noted as potential obstacles in the path to effective virtualization and
creating a disaster-recover strategy.
"As a cloud-service
provider, we're often approached by IT directors who still have concerns about
the process of safely backing up data in their virtualized environments," said
Justin Giardina, CTO of Iland, a cloud-infrastructure specialist. "What
businesses are looking for is help in protecting their data and minimizing the
impact of unplanned downtime."
The Acronis report advised IT
managers that the implementation of a backup and disaster-recovery strategy as
robust as that deployed for physical servers is required for all virtual
machines (especially if the virtual machine supports a production application).
The report also recommended independent backup and frequent refreshes of
virtual machines, as well as image-based recovery, which restores the entire
virtual machine (including the guest operating system and configuration
"File or block-based backups
only restore data and require the entire VM to be configured and imported back
to the cloud before the data can be restored," the report noted. "Avoid this by
taking an entire VM system image and using it as a warm VM standby."
The company also recommends
using virtual-server backup technology that was designed as agentless from the
start. Instead of requiring that each virtual machine have a backup agent or
that an expensive proxy server with snapshot space be provided for backup, some
software only requires one agent per physical host that can support all of the
virtual servers on the host, the report noted.